The one word you do not want to hear while looking at your results: Plateau!
Everyone has heard of this term but what does it really mean?
A Plateau effect occurs when a formerly effective measure ceases to cause further change
What does this mean for me and my health?
This has everything to do with your health. Have you ever noticed the overweight construction worker, or the obese laborer? Of course you have. I bet you can think back to the first few weeks that you started your job and you can remember lying in bed thinking how sore you were. Your muscles ached, your back was sore and your feet felt like they were going to fall off. Now when was the last time you actually woke up feeling that way? If it was today or yesterday, you are among the few. I would bet that it has been a long time for most of the readers.
It generally takes two weeks for your body to hit a plateau. Once your body has created the muscle mass it needs to perform the job you are doing, it will slow down dramatically and in most cases it will stop. So if we are talking, calories, weight loss, increasing strength or any health benefit- that means after the first two weeks your results will slow down dramatically and yes- even stop! This is why that first 5-10 lbs is so easy to lose or gain. To keep up the results we need to avoid this effect.
How do we prevent the plateau effect?
The secret to this is to create a Periodized plan and to be constantly changing the variables of exercise. We can affect the intensity of exercise by changing the reps, sets, and even weights- but this won’t completely get us away from the plateau effect. We need to get our body into something different completely. How we do this is by changing the “phases” that our body goes through. Taking our body from strength, to power, to endurance, to hypertrophy to numerous other phases. We can also change how many muscle groups we use for a movement (isolation-1-2 muscle groups activated, functional exercises 2-5 muscle groups working, or full body movements), which will force your body to be forever adapting to its environment:)
All in all, the plateau effect can be good if we are looking at learning to ride a bike or a new language, but if we are trying to change our bodies- it can work against us if we do not set up a solid game plan. A great place to start when building a plan is Goal Setting. Once you know what you are shooting for, you know what to avoid! Keep at it.
Provision Athletics is here to help with that game plan. We recognize that anyone can go onto a website and find exercises- but how do they string them together to avoid the plateau effect. Just like wiring or framing your house- having a professional do it for you is always a great way to go about it.
We would love to chat with you and to hear about your goals!
Thanks for reading!